Sherwood Forest Hospitals' Freedom to Speak Up Guardians
Points of contact: Anne Burton (left) and Amanda Barrett
Amanda Barrett and Anne Burton are Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.
The roles were created following Sir Robert Francis’s 2015 report into how NHS staff raised concerns. They are here to support staff so they feel confident about raising concerns and are reassured that matters raised will be taken seriously.
Ultimately, the role exists to promote better patient care, giving staff with concerns an alternative, confidential way to flag up anything that worries them.
“All our work is confidential. We discuss the concern – either by email, telephone or face-to-face – building trust and maintaining contact until a resolution has been found,” says Amanda.
“It could be a simple case of signposting them to the most appropriate person or providing them with information.
“Speaking up allows us to target resources and support to raise standards and improve working practices, which has a direct impact on patient care.”
A nurse with experience in surgery, medicine and care of the elderly, Amanda worked on Ward 52 (Woodland Ward) and Ward 35 at King’s Mill Hospital before joining the Project Management Office in March 2015.
Amanda and Anne have been the Sherwood Forest Hospital’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardians since the role was officially launched in October last year.
Anne, who has been the Trust’s staff support and benefits co-ordinator since 2005, says: “It is important that staff feel confident about raising concerns. They need to know that they will be taken seriously.
“We may speak to a manager or executive or help draft a summary of their concern so that it can be taken through the Trust’s Raising Concerns - Whistleblowing Policy.
“And we continue as a point of contact and support throughout any investigations.”
As well as helping colleagues, Anne says the role requires sensitivity and diplomacy.
“Raising a concern can be upsetting and difficult for staff but it is sometimes necessary to challenge and question systems and processes when they are not as effective as they could be.
“As guardians, we also need to remain positive, making sure concerns raised are followed through – being a ‘critical friend’ to the Trust can be difficult, but it also has its rewards.”